At the beginning of book 22 of the Odyssey, many of the suitors are armed and possess swords. However, they are woefully unprepared for the violent onslaught of Odysseus and his small band of loyal supporters. Odysseus reveals his identity in dramatic fashion by killing the arrogant suitor Antinous with an arrow through the throat. Odysseus then taunts the remaining suitors by yelling, “You must fight, or fly for your lives; and fly, not a man of you shall.” The suitors quickly understand their dire situation and begin to fight back. As Odysseus unleashes a hail of arrows on his opponents, his son Telemachus realizes that his fathers’ arrows will soon be spent and volunteers to run to the armory to fetch armor and heavy weaponry for the coming battle.
When Telemachus leaves the armory, he accidentally leaves the door open. Melanthius, the goat-herder, betrays Odysseus by choosing “twelve shields, with as many helmets and spears” and bringing them to the suitors. This has potentially disastrous consequences for Odysseus, as it significantly reduces his advantage over the suitors. Telemachus recognizes his mistake and tells Odysseus, “The fault, father, is mine, and mine only.” Although some of the suitors were lightly armed at the beginning of the battle, Telemachus’s mistake and Melanthius’s treachery make the battle between Odysseus and the suitors more equal.